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The James River in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States is 348 miles (560 km) long and drains a watershed of 10,432 square miles (27,020 km2) with a population of 2.8 million people. It is the 12th longest river in the United States that remains entirely within a single state. The James begins in the Appalachian Mountains and flows into the Chesapeake Bay at Hampton Roads. From there, its waters enter the Atlantic Ocean a few miles further east. Tidal waters extend west from the Bay to Richmond, the capital of Virginia.

The James River Basin is an ideal geographic region to study American social, economic and environmental sustainability because it physically transects the full width of the coastal state from sparsely populated, wooded mountain areas in the west, through agricultural lands in the center to more densely-populated, industrialized, urban areas and an extensive tidewater area to the east. Natural resources are diverse, cultural groups are becoming increasingly more varied, commercial operations range from intrastate to international, and political traditions reach far back before the founding of the United States.

Sustainable Societies James River Basin explores the most critical social, economic and environmental sustainability challenges in the region and examines strategies to address these challenges and the opportunities such challenges create. The issues are viewed in global context using EFI's internationally peer-reviewed methodology. Students develop the ability to apply their new knowledge to better serve their careers and their communities.

Sustainable Societies James River Basin uses a learner-centered approach and a combination of face-to-face and online delivery.